Dream career, huh? I have no idea why I chose it but, some time in junior high, I decided I wanted to be a doctor. Not just a doctor, but a surgeon.
My mother worked at the local hospital and many of our family friends were doctors and nurses — my pediatrician’s office was next door to our house. Those might have been factors in my decision, but I don’t know.
When I got to high school, I told my guidance counselor my plans and he had me enrolled in everything considered pre-med. One of those years, my parents gave me a copy of Gray’s Anatomy as a birthday present.
I won’t go into all the contributing factors, but my first semester in college didn’t go well. I was on the verge of failing most of my classes and… I enlisted in the Marine Corps.
When I came back from my first tour in Vietnam, a friend convinced me that I should apply for Embassy duty. Sounded good so I did it — oh, I had to reenlist to get the school so I was on my way to becoming a “lifer.” That was the term used for anyone who was planning on making a career in the Corps.
Went to embassy school, was posted to Sofia, Bulgaria and Paris, France, back to the US for a while, and then back to Vietnam. Leaving Vietnam, I requested recruiter’s school and had to reenlist again. Did it, went to school and was stationed in San Francisco.
Sitting in my office one afternoon, I read a Marine Corps bulletin requesting applications for warrant officer school. Okay, I was bored, so I completed the application, sent it in, and was accepted.
Once I became an officer, I found that politics trumped ability and accomplishment and I resigned my commission.
Did I ever have a dream? Yes, I wanted to be a surgeon. I once wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek story about what might have happened if I had followed that “dream.”
I’ve avoided the numbered questions so far, but I’ll say that, in answer to question #7, no way in heck.
For #6, I am completely happy with how my life has gone. If I were forced to make one change, I’d decline the commission program and stayed enlisted.
It worked out, though, because I finally became what I should have wanted to be all along: a writer.